Pissaladiere from Le Sud cookbook

The best pissaladière I’ve had in this lifetime is a three- way tie between one eaten at a marché in Èze, another at a marché in Vence (after an equally memorable visit to La Chapelle Matisse), and a third at a small boulangerie in Antibes. Each was made with a yeasted dough and piled high with caramelized onions, anchovies, and cured olives. While in recent years I’ve happily eaten and made excellent pissaladières with a richer, thinner base of puff pastry, the heart wants what it wants, and I still prefer pissaladières that lean thicker, nearly-but-not-quite focaccia in their risen, airy crusts, made with enough olive oil to soak through the bag before you’ve left the marché or bakery.


1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

¾ cup [180 ml] warm water

5 tablespoons [80 ml] extra-virgin olive oil

1½ cups [210 g] all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt


10 to 12 anchovies packed in oil

¼ cup [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds [1.4 kg] white onions, thinly sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Fine sea salt

¼ cup [35 g] Niçoise or other cured black olives

Serves 8 | Makes one 9-inch [23 cm] round pissaladière

To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast, honey, and water. Let stand for 5 minutes (the mixture should be foamy), then whisk in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.

Rub the inside of another large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl, rubbing the top of the dough with your oily hands. Cover with plastic wrap or reusable beeswax wrap and let rest overnight in the refrigerator. The dough should about double in size.

The next day, rub a 9-inch [23 cm] round baking pan evenly with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the pan and use your hands to gently stretch the dough to the edge of the pan. Cover with a cloth or towel and set aside until the dough is bubbly, light, and doubled again in size, 1 to 2 hours. While the dough rises, make the topping.

To make the topping: Finely chop 2 of the anchovies. Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the ¼ cup [60 ml] of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the chopped anchovies and thyme sprigs and season lightly with salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and soft, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the heat, remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and set aside to cool.

To bake: Arrange an oven rack near the bottom of the oven. If you have a baking stone, place it on the rack. Otherwise, invert a baking sheet and place it on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F [230°C].

Use your fingertips to press dimples in the dough and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes; the dough should be puffed and lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully spread the prepared onion mixture evenly over the top. Top with the 8 to 10 remaining anchovies and the olives. (I sometimes do this in a more traditional diamond pattern. You do you.) Lower the oven temperature to 400°F [200°C] and continue to bake until the onions are deeply golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let the pissaladière cool in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from Le Sud: Recipes from Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur by Rebekah Peppler, © 2021. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs © Joanne Pai. Order the book from Now Serving here.


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